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Governor Baker Signs Bill Improving Firefighter Access to Leave with Pay for Treatment of Cancer Sustained in Course of Duty



Photo courtesy of Governor's office

LYNN – Today, Governor Baker joined members of the Legislature, local firefighters, retirees and leaders from the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts to sign into law H. 2515, An Act Relative to Disability Benefits, during a ceremony at Lynn’s Broadway Fire Station. The bill ensures that the Commonwealth’s firefighters receive the treatment and support that they need as they battle illnesses sustained in the performance of duty.

“Our administration is grateful for the dedicated service of firefighters across the Commonwealth who work hard to keep our communities safe, and we are pleased to sign this bill to prioritize their health care needs,” said Governor Baker. “We thank the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts for their leadership and the Legislature for passing this legislation and strengthening Massachusetts’ commitment to our first responders and their families.”

“Across the Commonwealth, thousands of firefighters risk physical harm to protect our communities on a daily basis,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “This bill will help provide for those men and women impacted by cancer, one of the many unseen dangers associated with such a courageous profession.”

The legislation allows firefighters temporarily incapacitated for work due to certain forms of cancer to leave with full pay while they deal with this serious illness by adopting a provision of the pension statute that provides that certain cancers sustained by firefighters should be presumed to be a disabling condition sustained in the line of duty absent a showing that the cancer originates from some other cause.

“Today we honor our brave firefighters who work daily to protect our communities, our homes and our families,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo. “By providing support to them as they recover from chronic illnesses, we enable a stronger, healthier and more effective first responder force. Thank you to Governor Baker, the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, Representative Daniel Cahill and my colleagues in the House who worked hard together to make this possible.”

“The Commonwealth’s commitment to supporting firefighters and their families is unwavering,” said Representative Daniel Cahill. “Speaker Robert DeLeo, President Chandler, and Governor Baker wholeheartedly supported this legislation from the start and now firefighters diagnosed with cancer, including female firefighters suffering from breast and reproductive system cancers, can solely focus on recovery and returning to their firehouses.”

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